What if we changed the way that we define success? What if success meant living out your purpose, embracing authenticity, helping other people and forming meaningful relationships? When I reflect on the people that have impacted my life in the most profound ways, I don’t think about what kind of car they drive, what kind of clothes they wear or how many followers they have on social media. I think about the energy that I feel from them. These influential people all have a few things in common: a high level of integrity, trustworthiness, no hidden agenda, commitment to serving others and authenticity. 

Energy Does Not Lie

Energy does not lie. In fact, it’s one of the only things in life that can’t lie. This is a new lesson that I learned a few months ago from Diana Vitantonio. You can try to ignore the feelings of misalignment when surrounded by people that are not authentic. You can ignore when your own energy is telling you to leave a situation that no longer serves you. But more often than not, your energy will continue to speak to you. It will continue to tell you that a relationship or a situation is not serving your highest self.

I’ve always known this but was never able to clearly put it into words until I showed up at Breathless Yoga Teacher Training in July with my longtime mentor and yoga teacher, Diana Vitantonio. I signed up for the training not because I had any intention of being a yoga teacher but because I was in need of learning how to heal myself. It’s funny because much of my job involves helping other people find healing in their own bodies but I was at a loss for how to do that for myself. At the time Diana was one of the only people that I placed all of my trust in, believing that she would help me heal. She’s the kind of person that enters a room and causes the energy to shift. Her presence and love is powerful.

Breathless Yoga: Earth, Water, Air & Fire

Breathless Yoga is a style of yoga that Diana created and each class includes grounding yin poses, vinyasa flow, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and more yin poses. The flow represents the four elements: earth, water, air and fire and allows you to feel the way that your breath changes in each of the elements. The training was divided into two separate blocks of time—10 days in July and 10 days in October.

On day one I showed up as a person that was unhappy in my career, recovering from the loss of someone that I loved, paralyzed by fear, exhausted from spreading myself too thin and living from a state of complete unconsciousness. By the end of the second week of the yoga training everything was different. After countless hours of practicing breathless yoga, journaling, meditating and releasing, I walked away feeling light and free. For the first time ever I had clarity around how I wanted to start living my life—not for anyone else or the way that I was ‘taught’ to do things but from a very loving and authentic place. On one of the final days of the training I wrote this in my journal:

“I sat here less than ten months ago gasping for air. It was one of the lowest points that I can remember. I felt empty and betrayed. I made myself out to be the victim. Feeling completely alone, I cried out for help. What I didn’t realize at that time was that help was already on its way. My lowest point was the help that I needed to set me free. It set me free of my old path and allowed for me to create a new one. It allowed me to awaken from my state of unconsciousness.

I continue to seek truth and lightness while trusting in the powerful force of the universe. I choose to play big and to continue pursuing what scares me. I know that empowerment and fulfillment are not about doing what’s reasonable. It’s about listening to energy from within and choosing to embrace the things that scare you. It’s called living a life of integrity.”

It’s been three months since writing that journal entry. Since then I have continued to find lightness and authenticity. Within the last three months I quit my job, committed to growing my own business instead of fearing failure, created boundaries for myself, said no to a lot of opportunities, and focused on healing a few relationships. Read more what I’ve learned from the training: 10 Life Changing Lessons on Self-Love, Healing & Power from Breathless Yoga

Seven Tips for Authenticity & Enlightenment

I’ve learned in my functional medicine training and in yoga training that one of the most powerful things that you can do is to pay attention to your body, your energy and the energy of the people around you. How do you feel about yourself? How do others make you feel? Living an authentic life means tuning into your energy, purpose, passion and love. While I honestly think that one of the best ways to shift from unconsciousness to authenticity is to signup for Diana’s Breathless Yoga Teacher Training, I’ve written out a few tips that can be used in the meantime.

#1. Pray and Meditate Daily

Pray and meditate first thing in the morning before checking your phone, email, etc. Honor your own energy before allowing other people into your space. Find a comfortable spot and position and sit for 10+ minutes, listening and connecting to the most important person in your life. If you are new to meditating then I would recommend downloading the Headspace App.

#2. Listen to What Makes you Feel Light

Ask yourself in any give situation whether something makes you feel light or heavy and choose those that make you feel light. Give up on logic and reason and what society tells you that you ‘should’ do, how you ‘should’ dress, what you ‘should’ think. Listen to your own internal guidance.

#3. Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness requires a lot of work. It always starts with forgiving yourself before you can forgive anyone else in your life. Don’t forgive anyone else for them, do it for yourself. Forgiveness equals freedom. Learn to see every person as a blessing that teaches you something in your life and helps guide you to your next chapter. Everyone does the best that they can in any given moment or situation.

#4. Set Boundaries

Start saying no to other people more often and place your own needs first. It isn’t selfish, it’s compassionate. I’ve learned that the ability to set boundaries stems from having a higher self-esteem. The more that you can accept yourself, the easier it is to set boundaries.

#5. Get into your Body Every Day

They say that sex is not a want, it’s a need and I think the same is true for moving your body. The more that you can get into your body and out of your head, the more you will continue to experience that release. What’s changed for me is my motivation behind working out and moving my body. I push myself during workouts with the goal of losing my breath so that I can continue to learn how to stay in my center, even when life gets hard.

#6. View Every Single Day as a Practice

You never know what you’re practicing for but it’s essential to show up for practice every day. Commit to gaining strength so that you are prepared for whatever life throws at you next. Allow yourself to be strong and commit to tapping into your strength. Be patient with yourself and the process.

#7. Find Joy

This is perhaps the most important. Make joy a priority. Living an authentic and awakened life means seeking out joy and fulfillment as often as possible. That means doing more playing and loving and less working and hating.

For more information about upcoming Breathless Yoga Teacher Trainings with Diana, visit https://www.breathlessyoga.com/teacher-training/.